What Is Silage?

Farmers who farm in wet areas, such as Scotland, feed their cattle and sheep on silage in the winter. It is also a useful way to deal with hay after a wet summer.

Silage Definition

The quick definition of silage is pickled grass!

How Farmers Make Silage

To make silage a farmer will mow the hay and gather it into rows before a machine gathers it up and chops it up as it is gathered into a trailer.

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How Silage Is Stored

The farmer has a large heap which is called a silage or silo pit where it is tipped into and then covered with a large polythene sheet and usually weighed down with old tyres. This keeps the air out of the pit. Bacteria then converts the sugar in the hay (the pickling) preserving it. This usually takes about two weeks.

Dangers Of Silage

Silage gets wet and contains anywhere between 60 - 80% water. The liquid also contains the corrosive nitric acid (HNO3) so care must be taken not to store it near water supplies and sources. In the early days of production the acid emits dangerous toxic gas.

Other Names For Silage

Silage is often called cattle fodder.

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